Major League Baseball recognized last week's top performers Monday, naming the Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Tigers' Nicholas Castellanos as the Players of the Week presented by W.B. Mason in the National League and the American League.It's the first such award for Acuna, who's enjoying a breakout rookie campaign
Major League Baseball recognized last week's top performers Monday, naming the Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. and the Tigers' Nicholas Castellanos as the Players of the Week presented by W.B. Mason in the National League and the American League.
It's the first such award for Acuna, who's enjoying a breakout rookie campaign in Atlanta. The 20-year-old hit .464/.559/.954 with two doubles, four homers, nine RBIs and three stolen bases last week, becoming the youngest player to homer in five straight games.
Acuna's red-hot play at the plate created a stir Wednesday when he was knocked out of the Braves' 5-2 win against the Marlins early after he was hit above his left elbow by right-hander Jose Urena's first-pitch fastball. Urena was ejected and eventually received a six-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Acuna, who avoided serious injury and was back in Atlanta's lineup the next day.
"Whatever happened, happened, but when I look back, it was a week filled with blessings," Acuna said through an interpreter. "It was a week dedicated to hard work."
Acuna's home run streak came to an end in Thursday's opener against the Rockies. Still, he turned in a three-hit performance with a double, two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base in Saturday's extra-inning loss, extending his hitting streak to 11 games.
Castellanos, meanwhile, slashed .393/.485/.714 with three doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs to earn the AL honor. The 26-year-old opened the week with a breakout performance against the White Sox, snapping a cold streak with his first career five-hit performance.
Castellanos also slugged a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning and totaled five RBIs. He's the first Tigers player to collect five hits in a game since Ian Kinsler did it at Wrigley Field in 2015.
"If I said that I never put extra pressure on myself, I'd be lying," Castellanos said of busting out of his slump, "because I want to do good for everybody. But I also have been in this game long enough [to know] that you go through streaks like that. It is what it is."
Castellanos is the first Detroit player to win the weekly award since J.D. Martinez did so last July, just prior to his trade to Arizona. Castellanos is also the first Tiger to win it this season.
Castellanos also impressed defensively last week, robbing the Twins of an extra-base hit with a leaping grab in a big moment in the eighth inning Sunday.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.